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THE FALL SEASON

'John Doe,' 'Miss America' Score Big

September 23, 2002|Brian Lowry

Fox's "John Doe" made the biggest name for itself among new programs premiering over the weekend, while ABC's telecast of the Miss America Pageant walked off with the ratings crown Saturday but came up short compared with last year, based on preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

Fox got a jump on competitors by launching a pair of new dramas Friday: "John Doe"--about a man who knows everything, except his own identity--and "Firefly," an expensive sci-fi premise from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" producer Joss Whedon.

"Doe" was the clear standout of the night, averaging 9.6 million viewers, Fox's best Friday premiere since "Millennium" in 1996. "Firefly" was less impressive, with an audience of 6.3 million.

"Miss America," meanwhile, easily won Saturday night for ABC with just under 12 million viewers, down about 13% compared with last year. The audience grew from 8 million at 8 p.m. to over 16 million at the end three hours later.

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